Eating Contests: Where Everyone Loses

Eating contests: fun, folksy ritual or waste of food? This article from Singapore raised that question and forced me to revisit the topic I’d previously considered.

Sorry to play the wet blanket here, especially in the summertime, but I’m gonna say it: eating contests seem silly. Dare I say…gluttonous.

Now this may just be that seeing the pie eating contest barf-o-rama in Stand By Me as a youngster scarred me (warning: clip contains lots of blueberry-pie-induced vomiting).

And watching Cool Hand Luke back up his assertion that he can eat 50 eggs in an hour hasn’t helped (but it has sparked many imitations, from MTV’s Jackass to the Michigan Ultimate team’s annual contest). As an aside, here’s a physiological look at the likelihood of Luke’s success.

Looks Fun! - photo by dietrich (via Creative Commons)Yet, something like the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest just doesn’t sit well with me. Watching the two finalists eat 59 hot dogs each in 10 minutes, then five more in an “eat-off” just seems wrong.

It’s impressive in a disgusting kind of way that these two fellas can eat that much. But I’m just not sure why they do it and why we care enough that it’s on national TV. I guess it’s the same reason Jackass was so popular.

What’s your take on the topic?

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